Rest in Peace, Dick Baker

The Rockland Right to Life Committee extends its condolences to Cathy Baker on the passing of her beloved husband, Dick, on Aug. 19.

Dick Baker of Tomkins Cove died at home, surrounded by his family. Cathy is the co-founder of Birthright of Rockland and a was member of the group of Rockland prolifers who joined together to fight the legalization of abortion in New York in 1969. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of the Rockland Right to Life Committee.

Visiting hours will be Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 from 2-4 and 7-9pm at Higgins Funeral Home in New City, N.Y. A funeral Mass will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 23, at  10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Church with burial to follow at St. Anthony’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dick’s memory to Birthright of Rockland County.
Dick’s obituary may be found here.

House Passes Conscience Protection Act

quote 2The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conscience Protection Act yesterday by a vote of 245-182. This bill protects physicians, nurses, clinics, hospitals, and even health insurance providers from being forced by the government to provide, refer, or pay for abortions.

Nita Lowey voted against this legislation. Lowey is the representative of the 17th Congressional District in New York, which covers Rockland County.

The Senate now must pass this bill for it to become law.

For a precise and short discussion of why this bill was necessary, read “Obama’s Assault on the Right of Conscience,” (Politico) by David Weldon, former member of the House of Representatives, who  sponsored the Weldon Amendment (2009), which aimed to protect those who object to abortion.

The Conscience Protection Act is the second big prolife victory in the House in recent years. In May 2015 it passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. This bill was blocked by the Senate in September.

‘America, God Shed His Grace on Thee’

Margie Michael

Margie Fitton, co-founder of the Rockland Right to Life Committee, and her son, Michael, were among the worshippers at the morning of prayer for Life and America.

Starting the July 4th Independence Day holiday with a morning of prayer for our nation has become a tradition at the Mary Help of Christians Chapel at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point. With plenty of time left in the day for barbecues and fireworks, hundreds first come here to ask God for his blessing and healing for America, its leaders and its people, and to pray  for a restoration of respect for the gift of Life.

The morning included mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and recitation of the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. The concelebrants were three priests who are known for their prolife efforts in Rockland: Fr. Nicholas Callahan, formerly of St. Catherine’s in Blauvelt and now studying canon law in Rome, Fr. Brendan Gormley of St.Anthony’s in Yonkers, and Fr. John Wilson of St. Gregory’s in Garnerville.


Fr. Brendan Gormley and Fr. Nicholas Callahan

Wilson Eileen

Newly-ordained priest Fr. John Wilson gives Eileen Peterson his “first blessing.”

The main celebrant and homilist was Fr. Nicholas who spoke about why the prolife movement has reason for hope, even in the face of  recent Supreme Court rulings against us. Drawing a comparison between the impact of death and horror on the battlefield and the response to the slaughter of millions by abortion,  he said that there eventually comes a point of great “discouragement and exhaustion” against the familiarity of “blood, futility, suffering, and death.” That happens, he said,  because we are made to love life, and it’s “what the human soul wants to have.” There will be a turning point where the cause for life will prevail.

And also, he noted, from a theological point of view, the battle against evil has already been  won on the Cross, where we find in Christ the “grace to repair every heart and heal every wound.”

At the end of mass, the crowd lined up in the vestibule to receive the “first blessing” from Fr. John Wilson, who was  recently ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

This annual morning of prayer, sponsored by the Rockland County Catholic Coalition and the Helpers of Gods’ Precious Infants, has  become an occasion where many who have spent decades in the prolife movement get the chance to see each other again. Margie Fitton, co-founder of Rockland Right to Life and past president,  was among the worshippers. Eileen Peterson was organist and led the choir.


Local Writer Publishes Prolife Book

Cover imageSean Miller, a guest blogger for this website, recently published his first book, Full of Life, a collection of prolife writings. It became available on Amazon last week.

The book is meant to celebrate the Gift of Life and to provide inspiration and encouragement for all of us to stand up for life and support those in need – both the unborn baby and the mothers and fathers of the child.

Many of you know Sean, who’s been active in the prolife movement since 1994. He’s from “over the border” in Bergen County, but frequently works closely with prolife groups here in Rockland.

His 21 essays originally appeared on this website, but Full of Life presents them in one source. The essays are not intended to be biographical, but if you read them all you’ll find insights into the heart of a man who journeyed from mixed feelings about abortion as a college student to the front lines of the struggle – the sidewalk outside the abortion clinic where he strives – with never-failing love, compassion, and gentleness – to be a “last lifeline of hope” for a desperate pregnant woman about to enter its doors.

Legislative Session Ends in Albany: No Assisted Suicide

NY SealThe legislative session in Albany came to an end on Friday, June 17, without a floor vote on the assisted suicide bill. That means there will be no further consideration of this legislation until the NYS Assembly and Senate reconvene next year.

However, this by no means suggests that we can let down our guard. The supporters of physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill know that it may take several years to get this bill through and are geared up for the battle. We have to be ready to oppose them for as long as it takes.

The deceptively titled “Medical Aid in Dying Act,”(A.10059) was taken up by the NYS Assembly Health Committee in May. There it passed by vote of 14-11 to move on to the next step, the Codes Committee. But the session ended with no further action being taken.

Ellen Jaffee of the 97th AD in Rockland, a member of the Assembly Health Committee, voted for this bill.

Thank you to everyone who was part of the effort to stop this dangerous legislation — visiting our legislators in Albany, contacting them by phone and email, and sending postcards.

Please continue to keep yourself informed, as this issue will no doubt be back next year. Here are some sources for information:

New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide
Not Dead Yet
New York State Catholic Conference

Legislative Session Ends in Albany: Two Abortion Bills Fail to Become Law

NY SealAbout three weeks before the current legislative session ended in Albany on June 17, two pro-abortion bills passed in the NYS Assembly. However, they were never taken up for a vote in the Senate, and, therefore, did not become law.

These were the “Boss Bill” (A.1142), a bill restricting the religious liberty of faith-based employers and A.6221, a bill related to abortion expansion.

The “Boss Bill” was sponsored by Ellen Jaffee, of the 97th AD, and co-sponsored by two other Rockland representatives, Ken Zebrowski ( 96 AD) and James Skoufis (99 AD). The bill passed in a 114-33 vote.

Karl Brabanec (98 AD) voted against this bill, which got nine fewer votes that it received last year when the Assembly also approved it.  But similar to last year, there was no vote on the matter in in the Senate.

A.6221, which would permit unlimited late-term abortion in New York state was also co-sponsored by Jaffee, Zebrowski and Skoufis. Brabanec opposed it. It passed the Assembly 95-51 in May, was referred to the Senate Health Committee in June, and did not emerge from there.

Assembly Passes Conscience-Crushing Boss Bill (New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom) 

A.6221 Glick / S.4432 Stewart-Cousins: In relation to abortion expansion (NY Catholic Conference)